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Easy to Find Deep Sky Objects

Ok, you know the constellations a bit and now you want to find some bright deep sky objects. Most of them require binoculars, but some can be seen on bright nights with just your eyes. Here's table of some bright deepsky objects through the year: 

 

Name

Constellation

Magnitude

Type

Date

M13

Hercules

5.8

Globular Cluster

March-November

M92

Hercules

6.5

Globular Cluster

March-November

M3

Bootes

6.3

Globular Cluster

February-October

M5

Serpens

5.8

Globular Cluster

April-August

M15

Pegasus

6.3

Globular Cluster

July-December

M2

Pegasus

6.6

Globular Cluster

July-December

M10

Ophiuchus

6.6

Globular Cluster

April-October

M12

Ophuichus

6.1

Globular Cluster

April-October

M4

Scorpius

5.4

Globular Cluster

July August

h/x Persei

(NGC 884,  869)

Perseus

5.3+6.1

Open cluster(s)

Whole year

(summer = best)

M39

Cygnus

4.6

Open cluster

Whole year

(summer=best)

M44

Cancer

3.1

Open Cluster

December-July

M67

Cancer

6.9

Open Cluster

December-July

M35

Gemini

5.1

Open Cluster

November-June

M50

Monocerus

5.9

Open Cluster

January-May

M48

Hydra

5.8

Open Cluster

January-May

M11

Scutum

5.8

Open Cluster

July-November

M31

Andromeda

4.4

Galaxy

Whole year

(Autumn=best)

M33

Triangulum

6.3

Galaxy

August-April

M42

M42

?(around 3

very bright)

Nebula

December-April

M16

Sagittarius

6.0

Nebula

July-October

I haven't listed ones in the Sagittarius area, there are so many deepsky objects there that the list would become too long. Just point your binoculars to the area and you'll know what I mean.  I have listed the months when the objects are just above the horizons, so take the average year. (these date are for locations between the Equator and the North pole).

The objects that can be seen naked-eye are between magnitude 5 and 6 (on bright nights even 6.5 or dimmer). Like M42, M31, H/X Persei, M16, M13, M5, M35, and M39. Most are clusters, some nebula's and very few are galaxies. Even if you have a big telescope, some galaxies won't show good details. 

If you have a pair of binoculars then you really should take a look at Sagitarius. The area is great.  Just scan the area and you will see MANY deep sky objects.  The Eagle Nebula, M16,  is very beautiful as are the numerous star clusters.

 

Introduction to the Night Sky - Part III

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11/2011